With the omnipresence of social media, now more than ever, business owners and entrepreneurs have to deal with an influx of criticism, complaints and negative feedback in business. And if the criticism is not handled properly, the damage to your business or brand can be devastating. So, the CarolRoth.com contributor network of entrepreneurs and experts have graciously provided their best tips for handling criticism in business. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar insights, but I kept the concepts separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Healthy Complaint Handling
First, thank the contributor for their time and interest. Let them know what you'll do with the information they gave you and tell them when you'll be back in touch. Work hard inside your business to resolve the issue. If the comment points to a systemic issue, one that's hard and expensive to overcome, all the better. Fix the problem or develop a work-around. Finally, get back in touch with the contributor and tell them what happened. Let them take some of the credit for the fix.
2. Sticks & Stones!
Your Mother was always right! Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you. No one can go through life without some criticism...it is how you respond that matters...and in business it matters BIG TIME. Criticism is always an opportunity to prove yourself better. Rise to the occasion...you can't give me a bar I can't climb. Don't allow words to bring you down - in fact, they can only make you stronger!
3. Be a Consistent Professional!
My ONE best tip for "Handling Criticism/Negative Comments Online or Off in Business" is accept the fact that if you are in the public eye that you will be the target of negative comments and criticism. Understand that even if you did everything perfect, this would still be the case because it connects with the very nature of many people and remember that you cannot please everyone. Don't allow your heart to reflect the attitudes of your critics and always be a consistent and loving professional.
4. Take a Step Back!
When you feel criticized or attacked, take one giant step backwards and let it land on the floor, not on you! If you're able to do this, you will not take it in or on. In this way, you maintain your perspective and can interact in an appropriate way.
5. Keeping My Mind Open!
I try to make criticism work for me. Insight from another point of view allows me to re-evaluate and make adjustments for the better- whether it prompts a change in my website or change in my perspective.
6. Handling Criticism: 4 Key Tips
1) Remember - Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, even if it seriously conflicts with yours. Never get defensive.
2) Respond in a way that rises above with grace, but addresses the key complaint effectively.
3) If you continually receive an overabundance of negative feedback, re-evaluate what you’re putting out in the world. It’s not a random coincidence.
4) Manage your emotions and choose your words with care - the energy you put out through your communications is very potent.
7. Customer Complaints Gone Right
Offer an unconditional guarantee and if they call you directly, you will personally resolve any and all of their concerns. There is almost nowhere for the customer to go other than to call and then you get the opportunity to rebuild the trust. Once on a call or in-person visit, you have the chance to diffuse the situation and offer the chance to fix the problem. The secret is the personal contact and unconditional guarantee. You will make it right no matter what!!!
8. Right Back at Ya'
Criticism takes many forms. Being able to demonstrate that you have already addressed the issue stops it cold. Recently, a young customer posted a negative blog about us and one of our D-I-Y kits. I was able to respond by providing online links to a photo installation, the diagrams, and remind him that I had already given other information to his father AND his mother. I quickly had others on the blog praising our customer service and tech support, thereby turning a negative into a big positive.
If you're feeling criticized, ask yourself if it's your 'stuff' or the other person's. Sometimes, you're feeling defensive; sometimes, the other is projecting. Next, breathe deeply and ask yourself what truth there is in it. If there's no truth to it, let it go. If there is, fix it. It may take a while. Remember, you can't do anything productive if you're mad or defensive. Don't make it worse by reacting immediately.
10. Release Before Responding!
Before reacting, release and detach from the criticism- if face to face, practice your acting skills, do not respond and excuse yourself for a quick bathroom break. You can even say before responding, "I must take a quick bathroom break." Close the door and conduct a "silent scream" with full body tension- punch the ceiling, release 3 times and then take 3 deep relaxation breaths. If the critique is virtual, give yourself time before sending. Return ready to roll with it and a great response!
11. Handling with Tact
Customers do not complain unless something usually goes wrong. It could be a wrong item, excessive wait, or even a rude employee. Looking from the customer point of view, you would want to try to smooth over their "ruffled feathers." It could be as simple as an apology. It is important that management knows the problem, so that they can try to stop it from reoccurring to any customer. If something is listed negatively online, list what was done to fix it.
12. Take a Step Back
Have you ever noticed that when a friend or co-worker tells you about their problem, you have all the answers? But when the problem or criticism is yours, it is difficult to keep the emotional responses at bay. So, when you receive criticism, take a step back and look at it as if it was directed at someone else. Then, you can evaluate the criticism from a logical view instead of an emotional, defensive one. If there is merit, you will be more likely to see it; if not, the frustration is lessened.
13. Take a Step Back and Think
When someone criticizes you, it's human nature to immediately react. Instead of giving into your emotions, take a step back and think about the criticism. If the comment has validity, put your ego aside and respond accordingly. If you feel the criticism is completely out of left field (you believe the person is being overly critical- feedback from everyone else has been the exact opposite, etc.), respond respectfully, but stay confident, assert your original position and explain your thinking.
14. Meaningful Thanks
Thank the person for taking the time and trouble to let you know where there is a weakness or failure in your business dealings. Even if the advice is useless, someone took time to register a complaint; you take the time to be grateful that they contacted you, instead of badmouthing you behind your back. This worked especially well with someone who spent more time berating our choice of cover for a poetry book than reviewing its context. They were nonplussed by our thanks. Niceness startles.
15. It Will Only Hurt for a Moment
All of us have had to face that moment. We are on top of the world one second, and then a well-aimed sentence brings our world crashing down. You have become the victim of a verbal hand grenade!
It is inevitable that you will be barraged with negative comments and criticisms throughout the average day. The question is how do you cope with them?
Remember that the other person made their statement for a reason. The tone may be harsh, but something drove them. Do not react; analyze!
16. Thank Them
When it comes to criticism, in particular with social media, you must handle it with grace, no matter how charged it may make you. The world is watching & will know if you fail to respond, or respond with ego.
Thank your critic for providing you valuable insight. Use it to improve your product, services, and even turn a critic into a brand evangelist by handling the remark with grace, optimism and appreciation.
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning" Bill Gates
17. Keep a List of Great Feedback
Constructive criticism is helpful; mean-spirited criticism just plain hurts. Keep a list of positive comments you've received -- notes, emails, Tweets, even Facebook "likes" -- so you can remind yourself that lots of people love what you're doing.
18. Turn Lemons into Custom-ADE!
Graciously hear and acknowledge the negative view or comment. Next, have an objective, unassuming mind review your business or product for the flaw and THIRD, be determined to take flaw(s) found and make it an opportunity to change and present your service or product better than ever. Take the negative and show your customers that you heard them, LOUD and CLEAR!!! Make it right and do it better.
19. Surprise Them!
Research from AdAge earlier this year found 42% of people connect with brands on Facebook because they want better customer service. Those of us that are immersed in social media might expect some response when we complain about brands, but most consumers are surprised when they actually hear from a brand on these social networks. Surprise them by being publicly responsive to their posts. Use Google Alerts & searches on 48ers.com to react quickly to people talking (or complaining) about you.
20. Symptom of a Larger Issue?
It is hard to not take criticism personally and not feel the need to defend yourself. Always try to look at criticism from the perspective of the person giving it. What was their experience? Is the criticism really the issue or is it a symptom of a something larger. By putting yourself in their shoes, you can learn more about what you need to work on in your business and maybe identify a larger issue with your client and work to resolve it. Every criticism is an opportunity to improve and learn.
21. Critiques Motivate Me!
When my heart & mind are centered on achieving something, criticism propels me to make it happen. My sales strategy:
1. Smile and Agree. The other person will walk away believing they won.
2. Analyze. Can you tweak your plan?
3. Go For It!
Upon seeing my self-published book, a male in a very nasty tone said, "If your book were any good, a publisher would have picked it up." Analyzing & Tweaking; Sourcebooks published Nice Girls DO Get the Sale - an international best-seller!
22. Risky Business
In business, bumps in the road can occur and smart companies plan for this. Two success strategies we embrace: assemble a pre-determined group of experts that your company would need if a worst case scenario presented itself and next, build key messages that address the situation in a concise, appropriate manner.
Note: experts may include but not be limited to - Lawyer(s), secondary supplier(s), emergency IT, web services, medical /psychological organizations, media relations, et al.
23. Reality or Perception?
Even if you're sure you don't have a problem, your client perceives one - and their perception is your problem. How did they come to that perception? What positive actions can you take to alter that perception? Will that perception actually affect your business relationship with them? Even if you don't alter your core processes themselves, you may be able to change what your client sees of those processes. And ALWAYS thank them sincerely for sharing their thoughts - they want you to SUCCEED!
24. Take Ownership
Mistakes happen and things do go wrong; this is business. The companies that keep our business are the ones who step up to the plate, own the problem, acknowledge the issue and work with us to fix the problem. Notice that I did not say that they EAT IT every single time. What is important is that they realize long term benefit of relationships, have pride in their company and product and stand behind what they sell. Those are the companies we come back to time and time again. This is who we are!
25. Learn from Criticism
There are two basic types of criticism. One kind is constructive, the other destructive. While it is often hurtful to hear criticism, we can all learn from it. Constructive criticism offers a better or alternative way or a different solution. Destructive criticism puts down an idea or course of action without offering alternative ideas or solutions. It criticizes to criticize. Learn from construction criticism, even if you disagree with it. Ignore destructive criticism; life is too short.
26. Criticism? Find the source!
The #1 best way I've found to deal with criticism/negativity is to find the source. Yes, sometimes there are valid reasons for criticism (bad customer service, etc.) but 9/10 of the time, there is an underlying reason that has zero to do with the issue at hand. For example, I had a client that was really negative towards me. It ended up that I reminded him of his father whom he disliked. The best part is that once you expose the source, you can often turn the person into a great evangelist for you - I did!
27. Been Doing it for 40 Years
I was on a construction site. An elderly carpenter was installing a door frame into a wall. The engineer was criticizing the way the carpenter was anchoring it.
The elderly experienced carpenter was defensive & said; "Young man, I've been doing this for 40 years, so do not tell me how to do it." The young engineer replied, "Well for 40 years you’ve been doing it wrong!
The young engineer was right.
I was in my 20's seeing this. It was a great lesson. Criticism is good! Welcome it!
28. Responding to Criticism
Be appreciative that they are giving their criticism to you and not blabbing to a hundred other otherwise prospective customers (or worse, posting to blogs, Facebook and elsewhere). Plus, for every suggestion you hear, there are probably a hundred customers who are not telling you. I'm always appreciative of feedback (criticism), presuming that my customers and others, by speaking up, are actually interested in helping me to improve my products, service and business.
Burke Franklin of Jian
29. Just Kill Them with Kindness!!
To lead a team, you must learn to lead yourself. Ask yourself- are you good at follow up and follow through? Are you late/forget appointments? Do you find yourself procrastinating when you should be producing? These are not habits of a leader or grower. You must be accountable for yourself before you can hold anyone else accountable. Leadership is influence; would you follow you? So, you follow you? You are bigger than any negative comment. Send a "Nice to Meet You" card- Appreciation Marketing!!
30. A Learning Opportunity
During my nearly twenty years in the corporate world, I learned that criticism is not hurtful, it's helpful. How are we to grow as human beings if we do not accept criticism gracefully?
31. Quick Trick
All people really want is attention & acknowledgment. They - we - want to be right.
I have 2 ways I respond:
1. If they are violent or abusive, I simply walk away (if in person), or do not respond (as in emails).
2. If they have an honestly presented gripe, I say, "Well, you could be right. Let's look into this." I'm not agreeing, I'm just acknowledging them. It takes the wind out of their storm-laden sails, brings them back to reason, and we usually go from there to a good resolution.
32. Thank You for Complaining!
Thank someone for complaining? The answer is an emphatic YES! Think about your own experience as a consumer when you have called to complain, just itching for a confrontation! And then, the company service rep completely surprises you by empathizing? Your blood pressure immediately drops back to normal and the “fight” just drains out of you. That business is well on the way to transforming you from foe to friend. And it started by simply thanking you for your complaint!
33. It's NOT the Critic Who Counts
As co-founder of a PR and marketing agency, I've dealt with a lot of criticism being a new business owner. I respond to this by continuing to do what works for us. The phrase "you can't please everyone" applies in business too. It's good to listen to constructive criticism, but what works for another company may not work for you. The best tip for entrepreneurs is to ask themselves if worrying about these critics is making them more money? If not, it's irrelevant.
34. Every Criticism is Like Gold
Helping an author self publish is literally handling his baby – a book he may have dreamt of his entire life. Most clients are happy because we’re really good. But sometimes, I get a frown or heavy sigh.
He must love his book, so if I sense any gloom, I dig into what's on his mind. I assure him that he may hurt my feelings, but it would be much worse if we created something he didn't love.
All criticisms are gold – precious little nuggets of wisdom to mine for better business.
35. Shift the Criticism
Shift the criticism to an opportunity by saying thank you!
Negative feedback can be a wonderful opportunity. Instead of getting defensive, figure out what you can learn from it and ignore the rest. If you feel attacked, try to come up with something specific and measurable so that you can shift what you are doing. This would then be a learning experience for you and save you time and energy being angry.
36. Defang the Criticism Dragon
Karate experts use an opponent’s weight against him. In virtual, cyber or actual reality, the criticism dragon rips. Taking criticism further than it was intended puts you in control of any anti-you momentum and turns it on him. If he says you are ‘loud’, add ‘I am uncouth and unwashed’ too. It breaks the tension, shatters his psychological need for dominance and defangs him. At best, the ludicrousness of the situation invites laughter, at worst, he will disengage. Either way, you win.
37. Feel, Felt, Found
Objection handling involves three steps: 1. I know exactly how you Feel (They don't care until they know you care about them) 2. I have Felt the same way myself (Misery loves company) 3. I have Found the following solution... (Once they know you and trust you, then they are ready to give you credit). This is an age old solution that still works today. So... to review, Feel what they feel (walk in their shoes), Felt, means be a comrade in a problem and Found, there is a solution together.
38. The Home School Program
After being unfairly criticized by competitors, we lost 60% of our clients. Rather than losing our head and throwing in the towel, we remained true to our mission, fielded any negative communications with a positive response, ignored the "riff-raff" and put our hands to the grindstone! We rebuilt and in 2008, we were given special status in a California Appellate Court case, much to the chagrin of our competitors, and helped set the first favorable ruling in the State of California for our industry!
39. THANK YOU!
Treat critics and criticism like your best friends! We WANT people to tell us what we may not want to hear, but what we may desperately need to know! Sure, strokes are nice, but where's the challenge to improve or to go farther?
Grow a thick skin and say, "Thank You for helping us serve better. Thank You for pointing out how we can do better. Thank You for taking the time and caring enough to help us be the best we can be! We need more customers like you!"
Talk about disarming? You bet!
40. Pretend it's Your Future Boss
Any time someone leaves a snide comment on my blog or sends me a rude email, I often pretend that I'm replying to my future boss. How would I handle the reply if I WAS writing to my boss? If I didn't want to lose my job, what would I say? This always affects how I reply and helps me to keep my cool! I may not agree with the person who said something rude, but I can certainly answer in a respectful way, offering my side without cursing, being immature or showing anger.
41. Calm, Confident, & Classy!
Pleasing everyone or even trying is a shortcut to business disaster, so stay calm & confident about yourself & your product first, & then clear out all of the noise to find the real signal. Are people simply whining to get a better deal or discount or do they have genuine feedback? Not all feedback is worth acting on, so try to neutralize the environment with a simple sorry, listening ear, & plain clarification without going overboard with mountains of apologies & explanations.
42. Say It, Show It, Share It
The most natural responses for handling criticism are to argue, justify the issue or avoid it altogether.
Criticism, though hurtful, can be turned into a positive opportunity if you face it, own up to it and offer to fix it. As soon as possible, respond directly. Say "I'm sorry" and mean it. Show them that their opinion matters and share the solution with them.
Whether the criticism is right or not, someone's feelings are at the other end.
Since your Body is always moving and sending messages, it is wise to send the opposite of what is happening during criticism and negative comments. One of the greatest facial gestures is the raising of the eyebrows. Some people don't like to do that because it may cause wrinkles on the forehead. This, however, is the natural smile with the eyes, not the mouth. Fortunately, raising the eyebrows is a conscious movement and can also be controlled subconsciously.
Opinions - everybody has one.
The best way to handle online criticism is to realize first and foremost that email or Internet communications are limited - things aren't always what they seem. Realize that everyone has an opinion and they are entitled to it, but ask yourself what qualifies that person to make a criticism of you? If it matters a great deal to you, seek clarification by taking it off line, if possible. Most of all, don't let your ego get in the way.
45. "Lean in" to Criticism
Do what therapists do: "lean in" and acknowledge criticism with as much gusto as possible.
Customer: Your stupid camera didn't work – at my daughter's graduation!
You: At your daughter's one and only graduation ceremony? That's awful! I would be furious about that!
Customer: This food is terrible!
You: Wow! Sounds like you had a miserable lunch!
Then, ask good questions, followed by constructive problem solving based on what you *can* do. P.S. Works at home too!
46. What NOT to Do When Criticized
A lot of us get on the defensive when faced with criticism. That's what NOT to do. Often, our reaction turns into a confrontation -- even though the criticism might be legit. Instead, we need to train ourselves to count to 10 and then listen. Offer thanks and tell the person that you will look into the issue brought forth. It's after this that we can analyze whether or not the negative matter was constructive or not. Criticism more often brings a good and valuable point that improves our lot.
There is constructive criticism and there is destructive criticism. You will get both in business. I take the constructive criticism to heart and work to improve those shortcomings; the destructive ones, I simply brush off.
48. We Welcome Your Criticism
We instruct our clients to always send surveys to their patients asking them about their experience at the dental practice. This helps the dental practice create a unique experience for potential patients, as well as meet the expectations of current patients, especially the ones that take the survey. Criticism should be welcomed in order to improve one's business and to create a better experience for future and current clients.
49. 7 Secrets to Handle Criticism
Every entrepreneur and business owner has to go through a gauntlet of criticism and opinion before seeing success. Did you ever wonder how the pros take all the heat and not get burned? Simple - they ELEVATE! Professionals have mastered these 7 secrets of flipping any critique into an opportunity to build their own credibility and create additional curiosity, based around the acronym ELEVATE: Entertain, Listen, Echo, Verify, Accept, Thank and Explain.
The best response to criticism is appreciation and understanding. Let the customer know you understand them and know exactly how they feel. Congratulate them for being willing to speak their truth, as most don't feel worthy of getting what they really want. Tell them you appreciate their concerns and will do your best to remedy the situation. Follow through with what you say. When you are sincere and authentic, customers will feel your energy and will know you are someone they can trust.
51. That's How Employees Learn
Companies want to hear negative comments and criticisms, or at least they should. That's how employees learn. Don't take the negativity personally. Apologize, validate and resolve the issues. Learn from the mistakes and grow your business.
52. Bribes and Incentives Welcome
You might be tempted to leave a seductive voice-mail from a cooing female to "meet me in the alley" and then invite the Hell's Angels too, but that's probably not the best course to a resolution for the miserable, lying SOB who has been trashing your reputation unjustly somewhere online.
I must have done it a thousand times myself, not the "meet me in the alley" thing; I mean the real solution- apologize and tell the truth.
Both steps are necessary, regardless of where any blame lies. Do it!
Thanks to: Stafford Williamson.
53. Haters = Focus
In just the past few months, I've received significantly more negative feedback (positive too, in case you're keeping score). Each time, I set it aside for a day before revisiting. I realized that they didn't like the focus, tone and character I was bringing to the table. The more I embraced my target market, the less the critics liked it. While no one is perfect, it may be good to ask yourself, do I want to please this critic? Or does a hater just mean I have focus?
54. Remember Words of Wisdom
When people criticize my business, I remember that it's more about them than it is about me. What they say is based on what they believe and understand. At times like this, I think of a saying I heard a long time ago: "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Sometimes, people aren't ready, willing or able to hear the things that we have to say. Maybe we've shown up in their life at the wrong time. But the time may come when they are ready, and then the seed we planted will grow.
55. Faster Than a Locomotive!
If you experience negative comments online - address them IMMEDIATELY! Many businesses wait, hoping that the comments will go away. They won't! The internet is forever and the faster you respond to poor customer service, a bad meal or the fact an employee smells, the faster your customer base will understand that you care about them and will work to fix the situation. Not responding is the same as a politician lying about a sex scandal! Step up, admit the problem and then it will vanish fast!
56. Redirect the Focus
Redirect the focus of the criticism you are receiving. Establish your own narrative and stay true to the message you are trying to deliver. Often, criticism may be related to superficial, style-related items that don't reflect the true core and nature of your products or business. Remind people of where you stand, what you believe in, and what you have to offer and then, let the chips fall where they may.
57. Put Criticism into Perspective
Once you receive feedback, say thank you. Rather than react immediately, ask yourself, is this something I can use? If it is meant to hurt, consider the source, think about why he might be trying to 'get your goat' and say to yourself "not today." If you find negative thoughts creeping in, physically brush each shoulder off and say "be gone." Focus on the now, not should haves. If the criticism is warranted, focus on next time or from now on. You can't change the past; you can change the future.
58. I'm to Blame for L.A. Burning?
We all have customers and hear from them on occasion. Corporate trainers, though, hear from those customers--in writing--dozens, if not hundreds of times a week. I've learned to sift through the comments and use the valid ones to improve my training programs. The absurd ones bounce right off the trainers-Teflon-skin I've developed. I completely ignored, for example, the one suggesting people like me, sympathetic to Rodney King, caused the L.A. riots after the police were acquitted.
59. As Graciously as Possible
No one likes to hear criticism, be it justified or not. But what we must remember is to watch our words ever so carefully - especially online or any printed/permanent medium. Slow down. Count to 10. Reread what you wrote before hitting the send button. Think, how will this sound to the recipient? Could I have found less inflammatory words? In person, we have more leeway because of voice inflection and eye contact. The written word is flat, cold and permanent! It's best to err on the side of caution.
60. Tough Clients Mean Money Too.
Acknowledge and explore. Never argue. Validating someone's perspective increases their ability to listen to you after they feel heard. Being heard doesn't mean agreeing. Dig deeper into their reasons for criticism. There is always some deeper hurt they're covering up with the negative comment. Criticisms and negativity are a form of anger. Anger is a defense system for vulnerability. Using empathy skills to reveal the vulnerability develops a positive relationship. Relationships are good business.
61. The Pitch & Notes Offer Reason
I've got an acoustic Yamaha guitar next to the desk in my office. I'll relax, hum, whistle, and then strum a few chords. While I play, I'll philosophize & reason. I'll ask myself if there's any reason or merit for the criticism. I'll try to understand the critic's opinion before the situation mushrooms & I get in a huff.
62. Stop! Take a Breath
In business, it's always important to keep your cool. When receiving criticism, first stop and take a full breath before you say a word! Thank the person for their input and tell them "Interesting. I'll think that through." This will give you an opportunity to decide for yourself 1) Does this person have a point? 2) Is the criticism constructive? 3) Should you make changes based on this criticism? Breathe first, to think clearly.
63. Keep a Smile File
I keep a Smile File - a bunch of feel-good things others have said about me. They include: clicking "favorite" on positive comments on Twitter, putting testimonials and other happy customer emails into a file in my inbox, and keeping a manila folder of hand-written thank you notes I receive. Whenever I encounter criticism that stings, I simply open one of my Smile Files and soon, I'm feeling great again remembering why I do what I do and that there are plenty of people happy with my work!
64. Validate & Welcome!
People who criticize believe others don't listen. A three-step process gets my client heard, builds the relationship by re-framing criticism as loyalty, and improves business by identifying possible changes.
One, validate you’re listening: Repeat the criticism (exactly): "You think....." Next, express gratitude: He’s bothering to give feedback, instead of leaving. "I'm grateful." Use the criticism to explore service/product improvements. Inform the criticizer, building a collaboration.
65. Know Thyself
The one certain prophylaxis against negative criticism is the knowledge that you have done your homework. Unless you are certain that you know what you are talking about, you will feel like an imposter before you give your presentation and afterwards, if criticized. Once that is understood, any other advice as to how to make an effective presentation becomes trivial or superfluous.
66. Internet Morons?
It ultimately depends on the individual case, however, in most cases, I ignore it. As businesses grow online more and more, it is easy for others to comment on blogs, videos, etc. This accessibility leaves easy opportunities for "internet morons" to hide behind their computers and leave ignorant and/or unsubstantiated comments. If they are vulgar, I delete them, if they are idiotic, I respond with a sassy comeback, if they are substantiated, a good, healthy debate can develop
67. Be Open to Criticism to Win!
Constructive criticism is like failure... you have to experience it in order to grow and succeed. It all depends on how you take it in and respond to it.
Be open to receive criticism, preferably given constructively, to improve your personal or professional skills, talents or self. But you have to see it constructively and be open to receive it in order to learn and grow. No matter how hard, do not take it personally.
Remember, 'it is business'.
68. Be Kind & Use Humor
Kindness and a sense of humor go a long way. Online reputation management is one of my favorite topics and I have received negative comments (both online and offline). Remember to be kind - don't stoop down to the other person's level when someone attacks you. It also helps to have a sense of humor. One person online made a comment on how pale I looked in my photo. I responded that I was getting my ghost costume ready for Halloween. A sense of humor works wonders!
69. Don’t Kill the Messenger
Don’t reject criticism that comes your way! Be open-minded. Don't think of your evaluator as the enemy. Otherwise, you may be giving up a source of knowledge and insight. In most criticism, there is something good enough to take to heart. As P. M. Forni discusses in "Choosing Civility" - it's criticism that makes us learn what we are unable or unwilling to learn by ourselves.
70. Love Them Shuts Them Down
When customer blasts you, your company or product, the first reaction is to blast them back. Avoid this, as now you're at their level.
Instead, ask polite questions, provide succinct answers (no background detail or lengthy explanations; it simply confuses everyone & no one cares). Then, offer them something they cannot refuse. If they refuse this publicly, the egg is on their face and the public sees them in true color. Now drop it.
This works well for those trying to bluff you in the public.
71. How We Thank & Reward Critics
Criticism is people wanting to help/be heard.
So, we recognize & reciprocate w/ Thank You Notes & REWARDS, such as a Free 99.00 E-book - "How to Knock out Stress" or a 4000 yr Old Exercise E-BOOK: "Energy Exercise Excites CATS" w/a 365 day 100% Moolah Back Guarantee.
Critics can become great customers when you treat them like VIP'S & Thank/Reward them.
72. Bring on the Critics!
Have you ever given a speech? People will come up to you following a speech, saying "Good Job!" or "Great Speech!" and then, they walk away. What did you learn from them? Nothing! Don't get me wrong, I like kind comments as much as everyone else and they make me feel good... but, if you've got a Criticism for me, I am all ears! I want to learn from you! I want to hear what you did NOT like! YOU can really help me to do a better job next time! So, tell me what you really think!
73. I Really Value Your Opinion...
Criticism is often difficult to accept, but I always try to listen objectively to what the person is saying. To do this, just step back, remove your ego from the equation, and examine the comment to see if they have a valid point. If they do, the criticism then becomes constructive feedback, which has a much more positive connotation to it. If it is something you can change, you can proceed to work on a solution; if it's something you can't change, just choose to smile and move on.
74. WORDS Were Like Broken Glass
As I was presenting, the room was full of note takers, watery eyes and people who felt good. After my presentation, I was approached by a “leader” who decided to provide “constructive criticism” right then & there. Her words did not encourage and inspire; her words cut like a double edged sword. How do you handle an uncomfortable position? I want you to remember that you are valuable & precious. Life is too short to worry about what people think about your gift, talent or skills.
75. From Criticism to Kudos!
Understanding what your clients need is the key to business success. So, next time a criticism comes in, use it as an opportunity to talk with the client about what need wasn't met, in what way and then, razzle-dazzle them with your ability to listen, change and exceed their expectations. Clients love a business and business owners that are accountable and responsive. And once you turn them around, you've got a built-in referral machine that will keep going long after the initial critique.
76. Criticism vs. Griping
There is a major difference between criticism and griping. Criticism is well thought out and articulated (even if it is lodged within a complaint). In cases like this, whether you agree with it or not, pay heed and at least take a look at it because it may help you. On the other hand, griping is typically unreasonable or even angry gibberish. That is what you filter out. Griping won't help you develop your business, so filter it out.
77. The Kernel of Truth
Criticisms often include a kernel of truth, clothed in negative language.
When receiving criticism, picture yourself objectively analyzing a nut for the kernel, while ignoring the shell. Is there something there that is accurate which you need to consider and friends would not tell you? If not, what is the person's motivation for saying the criticism - power, an effort to make herself feel better at a tough time in her life, etc? Can you ignore the negativity and respond only to the kernel?
78. What They Really Need is Help!
Criticism/negative comments are a customer cry for help. Engage in prompt communication with them. Show empathy for the situation as they see it. What's the basis for their frustration, disillusionment, or discontent? Respond with a solution! A real solution, not just words that you think the customer wants to hear. Many times, an apology and a sincere desire to ease the stress of the problem go a long way to turning a customer frown to a smile.
79. Keep Your Powder Dry
The best way to handle criticism after the fact is to ignore it. You will always be playing catch-up. The real secret is if you know that negative publicity is coming, get out in front of it. Get your story out first. Make them react to your story. Often, critics go overboard. They go too far. Let them. Keep your powder dry. If something needs to be changed or modified in some way, do it. Then, announce what you have done without mentioning the criticism.
Mitch Carnell of SPWC
80. Hold 'Em or Fold 'Em?
Handling negative comments as a card game? Yes! In a card game, you have to know when to show your cards, play them close or a combination of both.
Step 1 - Contact the customer directly (examine hand)
Step 2 - Listen and offer a solution (show your cards)
Step 3 - If solution accepted, ask customer to delete or upgrade comments
Step 4 - If solution rejected, respond with an explanation in the same manner as original comments
Step 5 - Address breakdown in company and deal a new hand!
81. It's All About Them
Handling criticism or negative comments isn't always easy. The best way I've found to handle it is to remember that it's not usually about me, it's about them.
For example, when someone asks you, "Are you REALLY going to do that?", it's coming from their uncomfortableness in doing it. That doesn't mean that you need to 'buy into' their opinion that it should be uncomfortable. You can choose.
It's about where they are in their own personal awareness of who they are, and where they are going.
82. Take it in Stride
Criticism can be positive or negative and often with the latter, due to how we are wired as human beings, is to focus on the negative first. If you receive negative comments or criticism, the best approach is to remain calm, take a deep breath to relax, consider the source and then respond by thanking them for their comment. Some people are well meaning and may have your best interest at heart. Try and find some element in the criticism that you might be able to use. Otherwise, just let it go and move on.
Myles Miller of LeadUP
83. Ignore the Judgment
When someone shares a criticism in a negative way, acknowledge them and let it go. Often, they have made the negative comment out of habit, lack of training, jealousy and other fear-based emotions. People crave acknowledgment! Then, be sure you don't simply judge them back-- look to see if there is a nugget of truth in their comment. Remember the negative emotions you felt hearing their criticism to keep your own critical tongue from wagging to someone else another time.
84. How to Deal with "That Guy"
Usually, I respond with Joy and Thank them genuinely for their concern in the matter. Then, I follow up with questions on how they are an expert in this field (especially if not someone well known) and for their consulting website, so I can learn more about their approach.
This will normally cause them to discredit themselves without you becoming the A#$ that they are showing themselves to be. After follow-up, move on; don't let them take control of your conversation. This works for me 100%.
85. Thanks for the Criticism!
Thank them for their useful input! With practice, this will defuse your immediate emotional response and give you time to look to see what you are really reacting too. You will only have a strong response to criticism if it’s something that triggers you. For example, if you need to be right or your greatest fear or weakness has been triggered, you may react. The useful information is less about what they say and more about what you are missing or ignoring by reacting in this way.
86. Take it for What it's Worth
Before you consider handling criticism, look at the source & determine why it's coming & who it's from. If it's from a client or vendor & you made an honest mistake, a simple apology & making it right is usually enough. If the criticism is coming for other reasons - like somebody is jealous, doesn't understand what you're trying to accomplish or is trying to hold you back in some way, then the best thing is to consider the source & ignore it. This way, you'll be the ultimate winner.
87. Stay Positive About Negativity
Social media lets businesses and customers communicate. But customers also talk...and complain... to each other. Such negative feedback can feel highly personal, especially for small business owners. The key? Remain positive. Positivity and willingness build brand loyalty. Put personal barbs aside. Don't lay blame or justify. Customers understand mistakes will be made. A positive approach to negativity diffuses a tough situation, regaining the customer and, perhaps, many new fans.
88. Flip the Coin of Negativity
Take out a coin. Let's say 'heads' is negative criticism. Now, turn the coin around. What is on the other side of criticism? No, don't read on - stop and reflect a little: What IS on the other side of this coin?
You might think something like 'peace, quietness, or relaxation'. Think again: Negative criticism affects you; it can rattle your nervous system. We look for the same intensity on the other side of the same coin: Encouragement, passion, expression, and boost. So, always have a coin handy.
89. Smile While Being Criticized
Criticism is simply the desperate passionate drive of a dedicated individual, who truly wants to see you succeed. Their only challenge is the tone they use while communicating their opinions. You, on the other hand, can either take it as a compliment or waste energy getting mad and worked up over the issue. Remember, you are completely incapable of controlling others opinions, but you do have a choice on how to respond to them. Lower your guard and award the greatest natural gift, a big smile.
90. Amateur Psychology Hour!
I'm really interested in looking at things from other peoples' perspectives and criticism is a great opportunity to do that.
I'm not a psychologist, but I love to look at why people think the way they do and what that means to them. I try to see what they're reacting to, how they got there, and how I can take that into account next time to be a better business owner.
And, sure, sometimes I get truly crazy-pants criticisms - and those make for really entertaining stories!
91. Hold the Presses!
Face it. Major media aren't going to go chasing you down when everybody loves you. Accused of shady dealings? Products that turned out unsafe? That's when you roll out those press releases. Your name recognition will soar and your competition will go nuts trying to figure out how you did it.
92. Acknowledge and Laugh!
Laugh! Of course, this is best done in privacy; no need to provoke further criticism. Laughing takes your edge off before you say “Thank you for your feedback.” Especially online, you want to acknowledge and accept the criticism in a positive way, and then add a lighthearted response that provides a solution to the problem or that addresses how you will look into the matter as appropriate. For example, “We are fortunate to have amazing customers who will always let us know when we mess up!”
93. Criticizing a Sock Puppet
We each have our own world view, moods, and thoughts, all of which influence what we see and how we interpret what we see. People do not report on reality; they decide in their mind what reality is and report on their thinking. So when someone criticizes you, what they are really criticizing is a sock puppet version of you that they see in their mind. That’s all they ever experience. They are NEVER criticizing you. How can you be bothered by someone who is criticizing a sock puppet?
94. An Open Mind Gathers Awareness
Listen open-mindedly to what the other is saying, (they’re offering their perception - valid to them). Without being defensive, thank them for sharing something you weren't aware of. Tell them you'll think about and consider what they said. Ex: a co worker says you're arrogant and self absorbed. You don't agree. Refrain from lashing back. Instead, reply "I wasn't aware you felt that way. Thank you for pointing it out. I'll give it some thought. If I agree, I'll make some changes."
95. Make Everything an Opportunity
Criticism is an opportunity for self-growth, and healing what’s unprocessed in you, so you can respond consciously rather than from emotional reactivity. In the face of a negative comment, ask yourself, “Does the criticism have any validity?” If you realize it’s really more about them than you, take a moment to notice what their words have triggered in you. “Does this merit a response?” If you do respond, approaching it from a larger perspective gives them wiggle room to back out gracefully.
Do you know another tip that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!